If you are from a warm tropical country, moving to or visiting the Netherlands could be a chilling experience. The Netherlands is relatively cold so adapting to your new life could seem daunting at first. Furthermore, you might find the level of bureaucracy frustrating when it comes to registering yourself. Don’t even get me started on the difficulty of finding accommodation and navigating the housing crisis.
As soon as you overcome these three challenges, the question in your head will be how to find access to a mobile service. You can’t wait to reach your friends and family back home and assure them you are okay. Besides, by now you have made a couple of Dutch friends and would love to stay in touch with them.
Mobile Phone Services in the Netherlands
There are several options for signing up to a mobile service in the Netherlands. The first option would be a mobile phone contract. It simply implies that you purchase a device and sign up to a plan from a given provider. Similarly, you can subscribe to a mobile service by signing a SIM-only contract. With this option you won’t need to buy a phone. You can use your old phone.
Finally, you can subscribe to a phone service through a prepaid subscription. Here too you can use your old phone. The difference is that you will pay for mobile services as you go. Choosing a provider in the Netherlands can be challenging if you are not sure how long you plan on staying.
You probably don’t want to be stuck with a contract that might be difficult to terminate. So you better weigh your options before choosing the best subscription for you. The good news is there are many providers in the market thus you will find a wide variety of competitive prices.
Mobile Phone Service Providers in the Netherlands
The Netherlands phone service market is competitive with many providers and a range of services. There are both large and small providers in the market so your options are definitely not limited. That’s a good thing depending on your perspective. It could also be frustrating to know the right choice.
The providers are generally divided into two groups. There are providers with their own network and virtual providers. Virtual providers rely on the existing networks to offer mobile services. However, remember that no provider is bad enough that they should not be considered. The service quality from virtual providers in most cases is the same as those with their own networks.
The main providers are KPN, Vodafone Nederland, and T-Mobile (which is merged with Tele2). They operate their own networks and have the largest number of subscribers. The virtual providers on the other hand include; Lebara, Expat Mobile, Simpel, Budget Mobile, Simyo, Youfone, and Tele2.
As an international Telecom giant, you have probably heard of Vodafone. It operates in 22 countries with 48 partner networks. With the operator you are assured of a good network coverage anywhere in the Netherlands. They also have several brick-and-mortar stores countrywide so you can easily access customer service. Vodafone offers SIM-only contracts that are fairly affordable and expat-friendly.
If you are wondering which is the largest provider in the Netherlands then you should know its KPN. It has the most subscribers too so don’t be surprised to find most of your new friends on this network. You should also know that it has the best coverage in the whole country. They offer a range of mobile phone contracts as well as prepaid and SIM-only deals.
I wouldn’t recommend this network if your Dutch is not as good. Their website is in Dutch so you won’t be able to understand their offers or services. However, don’t write it off just yet because they have a number of expat-friendly packages.
If you are looking for the friendliest network for an expat then you should go for Lebara. Their website is in English and is therefore easy to understand. From the website, you can clearly see the various packages they offer. They also provide contracts, SIM-only and prepaid deals that are affordable for foreigners.
This network focuses on expats on the most part. It’s the best since you do not need a residence permit or Dutch bank account to subscribe to their services. So, you can subscribe even before you get accommodation. Their packages cost as little as €0.50 per day.
With this provider, you can access cheap SIM-only deals. For as low as €2.50 per month you can subscribe to their services. Note however, that they only have a one or two-year subscription so it’s not the most flexible network.
Though this provider offers affordable packages for expats, their website can be challenging to navigate. For instance, their SIM-only subscriptions allow you to use 100 free international minutes or texts every month!
The downside to choosing this provider is that you have to translate the website to English. However, they offer monthly-terminable SIM-only contracts. With them you can access a fast internet connection. You will receive a discount if you live with someone who is already a subscriber.